Blessings

Did you know that Scripture offers other “blessings” apart from the well-know Beatitudes. There are many beatitudes in the Hebrew Bible. Sunday’s psalm, in its original language reads:

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. (Ps 1:1–2).

Beatitudes in general belong to the Wisdom strands of the Old Testament, reflecting popular experience of what “works” to make a person happy (Ps 1:1, 41:1; Prov 14:21; Sir 31:8).

As such, OT beatitudes offer praise of a secular happiness, referring to earthly goods (e.g. 4 Macc 18:9). These seldom point beyond the present situation and only rarely does one find a reference to a future, messianic event (perhaps in the messianic interpretation of Is 31:9). Often, these passages have a moralising function (e.g. Prov 3:13; Sir 14:1; 25:8; 26:1).

In the world of Jewish apocalyptic, however, beatitudes express a hope for end-time reversal and eternal bliss (Dan 12:12; Tob 13:14). For example:

Blessed be they that shall be in those days, in that they shall see the good fortune of Israel which God shall bring to pass in the gathering together of the tribes (Psalms of Solomon 17.50)

Blessed are you righteous and elect ones; for glorious will be your lot (1 Enoch 58:2).

The Gospel of Luke contains five further beatitudes, all peculiar to Luke.

And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.” (Luke 1:45)

But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it!” (Luke 11:28)

Blessed are those slaves whom the master finds alert when he comes; truly I tell you, he will fasten his belt and have them sit down to eat, and he will come and serve them. (Luke 12:37)

One of the dinner guests, on hearing this, said to him, “Blessed is anyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!” (Luke 14:15)

For the days are surely coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed.’ (Luke 23:29)

St. Paul

Bless those who persecute you, bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty but associate with the lowly. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil; consider what is good before all people. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all people. Do not avenge yourselves, dear friends, but give place to God’s wrath, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. Rather, if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in doing this you will be heaping burning coals on his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Rom 12:14–21)

I hope you have a blessed day!

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